WESTERN SAHARA - NEWS

WEEKS 45 - 46 : 05.11.- 18.11.2006

original french

SADR

04.11.06, Vitoria, Basque Country
The President of the Saharawi Republic was received in the Basque Parliament by the President of the Parliament, Mrs Izaskun Bilbao.  He also met with representatives of European parliamentary intergroups taking part in the 32nd conference of coordination and support for the Saharawi people. [SPS]

04-07.11.06, African Union
A delegation of the AU Committee for Refugees, led by its president, John E. Aggrey, carried out an official visit of the Saharawi refugee camps. “The cause of the Saharawi people is a cause for all Africans”, declared John E. Aggrey, Ambassador for Ghana in Ethiopia and with the AU. [SPS]

06-07.11.06, Socialist Internationale
On the occasion of the meeting in Santiago in Chile, several presidents and party leaders expressed in a statement their support for the self-determination of the Saharawi people and displayed their concern at the “serious and systematic” human rights abuses in the occupied territories of Western Sahara. [SPS]

Inter-Parliamentary Union
SADR obtained the status of an observer with the IPU with a view to its forthcoming summit in 2007 in South Africa.

1-3.11.06 UGTSARIO, the Saharawi General Workers’ Union, became a full and permanent  member of the new international trades union federation, ITUC-CSI.

5-8.11.06, Perth, Australia, conference of oil experts
The SADR participated in the International Conference and exhibition of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) attended by over 2000 states and oil companies, which took place in Perth -Australia on 5-8 November 2006.
The Polisario representative to Australia delivered a presentation at the International Pavilion about SADR’s recent oil and gas licensing round. .
The Moroccan regime attempted to prevent SADR from exhibiting at the International conference but failed.

10.11.06, rally
The stage from Smara-Zouerate of the first Transafrican Classic, a 4x4 car rally from Paris to Dakar, was cancelled, the organisers having not asked for permission for passage through from the Saharawi authorities. [Press statement from the Polisario Front Representation in France, 09.11.06]

12-22.11.06, Non-violence
On the initiative of SweFOR, the Swedish branch of the International Movement for Reconciliation (IFOR) a meeting bringing together sixteen African and Latin American NGOs, was held in the refugee camps on the theme of the non-violent resolution of conflicts.
[Al Khabar, Algiers, 12.11.06 , english] [La Tribune, 13.11.06]  [Gabinete de Prensa Embajada RASD en Argelia, 12.11.06]  [+ arabic]

13.11.06, diplomacy
Mhamed Khaddad, Saharawi coordinator with MINURSO, was received in Nouakchott by Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, President of the Military Council for Justice and Democracy. On 18 November in Praia, in Cap Verde, he met with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Domingos Mascarenhas.

14.11.06. Chile
Parliamentarians asked the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, to recognise the Saharawi Republic. [La Nación, Chili, 14.11.06]

16.11.06, African Union
El Hadj Diao Kanté, president on the Permanent Commission of International Relations, Cooperation and Conflict resolution of the Panafrican Parliament (PAP), presented a draft resolution on Western Sahara during the 6th session of the PAP, in Midrand, in South Africa. The resolution recommends that the Panafrican Parliament proposes to the UA to make the Security Council implement its own resolutions which it has adopted” to settle the crisis in Western Sahara. [SPS]

OCCUPIED TERRITORIES AND SOUTH MOROCCO

02-04.11.06, demonstrations and arrests
On the occasion of the anniversary of the Green March, several demonstrations took place in El Ayoun, Smara and Tan-Tan. Seven people were arrested in El Ayoun and three in Tan-Tan.

08.11.06
Three people were arrested in El Ayoun, accused of trafficking arms from Mauritania. Two guns were seized as well as cartridges. The Saharawi government denied “in a formal and categorical manner” any part in this affair.

14.11.06
The Moroccan authorities are reported to have intercepted three people trying to bring large quantities of arms and munitions from Algeria into the region of Mhamid El-Ghizlane, not far from Assa.

10.11.06, encouragement to emigration
The Spanish daily El Mundo confirmed that the Moroccan authorities put pressure on young Saharawis to make them emigrate to Spain. The paper quotes the example of a youth, “detained and tortured by the Moroccan police for having demonstrated in favour of independence of the Saharawi people”. He affirms that he became the object of pressure by the Moroccan police wanting him to emigrate to the Canary Islands. “The deputy governor of El Ayoun decides who can or can’t leave. Then the traffickers get in touch with the interested party and pass over money to help him to emigrate”, the witness says, adding that the would-be emigrants receive “precise instructions” from the Moroccan police about the part of the Saharawi coast which is not watched. [El Mundo, 10.11.06]

11.11.06, El-Ayoun
New appeal of Saharawi political prisoners incarcerated in the Black Prison, who denounce the human rights abuses committed against them and ask for the intervention of Moroccan and international human rights organisations.

15.11.06, Aminatou Haidar is back
The Saharawi human rights activist, at the end of her tour of Europe, the USA and South Africa, arrived by plane in El Ayoun, where she was welcomed by her family and dozens of activists. Hundreds of people were waiting at her home, while demonstrations of joy broke out in several quarters. [ABC, 16.11.06] [traduction non officielle ]

20.11.06, hunger strike
Thirteen Saharawi political prisoners from the Moroccan prisons in Inzegan, Tiznit, Kénitra and Ait Melloul started an unlimited hunger strike, to protest against the refusal of the Moroccan penitentiary authorities to consider them as political prisoners and to respect their rights. They demand this grouping in the prison of Aït Melloul and separation from common law prisoners, an inquiry into the bad treatment undergone by Lasseiri Salek, Saleh Amidan, Benga Cheikh and El Ouali Amidan, as well as the assassination attempt on Lehmam Salama. [SPS]

Trial
01.11.06, Agadir
Two Saharawi political detainees, El-Jadi Lahoucine and Lafkir Lahoucine, appeared before the court of appeal. Lafkir was sentenced to 3 years in prison, El-Jadi was sentenced on 16 November to two years in prison.

08.11.06, El-Ayoun
Choubida Laroussi was given a sentence of 18 months in prison. He had refused Moroccan nationality. His family denounced the sentencing and expressed their unconditional solidarity with all the Saharawi political prisoners.

13.11.06, El-Ayoun
Two Saharawi political prisoners, Sabbar Brahim, secretary general of ASVDH, and Sbai Ahmed, a member of the council of coordination of ASVDH, appeared before the instructing magistrate.

REFERENDUM

06.11.06, China
Receiving his Moroccan counterpart in Beijing, the Chinese Prime Minister, Wen Jibao  declared: China hopes the Western Sahara issue can be properly resolved through dialogue and consultation within the framework of the United Nations, and China is willing to play an active role towards this objective, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in Beijing. Wen made the remarks when meeting Moroccan Prime Minister Driss Jettou. [agencies]

06.11.06, anniversary of the Green March
In his traditional speech on the occasion of the anniversary of the Green March, the King of Morocco brandished the threat of instability and terrorism should a Saharawi state be established. He announced that CORCAS would submit a proposal for autonomy in the coming weeks. Mohamed VI also wishes to avoid “calamitous risks of balkanisation and instability which would be engendered by the setting up of an artificial entity [in Western Sahara]. This redoubtable hypothesis would transform the region into a slimy quagmire, a refuge for terrorist bands and a den for criminals engaged in people trafficking and arms smuggling.” [agencies]

Replying to this speech, the Saharawi Minister for Occupied Territories, El-Khalil Sid M'hamed affirmed that an independent Saharawi state, the result of a free, fair and transparent referendum would constitute “the best means of safeguarding security, peace and stability in the region as it would be the democratic solution in accordance with the UN Charter". [SPS]
For his part, the Algerian President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika affirmed in Beijing where he was on a state visit, that a referendum of self-determination of the Saharawi people is “inevitable”. [agencies]
The Saharawi head of state affirmed on the Algerian radio airwaves, that “the implementation of international law, in terms of decolonisation and respect for human rights, has never been the start of the development of terrorism”, pointing out that “Morocco’s fait accompli against Western Sahara could however, engender terrorism and extremism”.  [14.11.06]

11.11.06
In reply to a declaration from the Moroccan minister for communication, Nabil Ben Abdallah, for whom autonomy is “a form of civilised self-determination”, the Saharawi government declared in a statement, that  autonomy “in reality is only a vain attempt to confiscate a sacred and inalienable international right”, which is the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and independence. [Full text, SPS]

MOROCCO

13.11.06
Saharawi students at the University of Marrakech organised a sit-in inside their campus to denounce the tripartite agreement of Madrid.  [SPS]

17.11.06, EU-Morocco
On the occasion of the fifth session of the Morocco –European Union Committee of Association, one learns that Morocco has become the largest beneficiary in the Mediterranean region of the financial program of the European Union with over 250 million euros granted in 2006.

SPAIN

10.11.06
“The absence of any response to the reasonable and just claims of the Saharawi people and its representatives and the silence observed in the face of initiatives undertaken by social sectors and political actions carried out since the start of the legislature cause this question to become a black mark on the external policy implemented by the government”, underlined Izquierda unida (United Left, the third political power in Spain) in a statement. Izquierda unida deplored the “scandalous role” of the Spanish representation during the vote in October in the Decolonization Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations. [SPS]

HUMANITARIAN AID

05.11.06
The Saharawi Red Crescent (CRS) launched a new “urgent” appeal to the international community after the “complete” break in the security stock of basic foodstuffs of the Saharawi refugees. The CRS declared that it “could not assure the minimum of food needs to the Saharawi refugees during the month of November”. On 24 October, eight NGOs operating in the refugee camps had likewise drawn attention to the situation, as had WFP on the 26th of the same month.  [SPS]

11.11.06
The departing executive director of the World Food Program (WFP), James Morris, carried out a working visit to the refugee camps. The international community should not forget the critical situation of thousands of Saharawi refugees in Algeria, who depend entirely on international aid, he said. He paid homage to the Algerian government which supports them, but insisted on the necessity of greater international aid. [SPS] [UN News, 13.11.06]
For his part, the Saharawi president launched “an urgent appeal to the WFP, as well as all international and regional humanitarian organisations”.
[SPS, full text of the speech given by the SADR head of state]
In a statement on Algerian national radio, the Saharawi president deplored that France and Morocco should use the food situation of the Saharawi refugees “as a bargaining chip”.
[14.11.06].
[presse algérienne: L'Expression 12.11.06 , L'Expression 13.11.06 /a  , L'Expression 13.11.06/b]

16.11.06,  urgent appeal
Five MEPs sent a letter to the director of ECHO, the EU’s office for humanitarian aid, to make them aware of the risk of famine in the Saharawi camps.  [Letter to Antonio Cavaco, General Director of ECHO, Humanitarian Aid department of the European Union, 16.11.06]

SOLIDARITY

03-05.11.06, EUCOCO Vitoria ( continued)
The 32nd European Conference of Coordination and support to the Saharawi people  (EUCOCO) completed its proceedings by the adoption of a final declaration.
Several documents giving the conclusions of workshops concerning political action and social mobilisation, civil resistance in the occupied territories, cooperation in the fields of health, education, food aid and non-food aid, international law, equality of women and youth were drawn up. For the first time two practical working groups were devoted, one to the organisation of the welcome for the Saharawi children, the other to the evaluation and management of cooperation projects.
The documents are available in Spanish on the EUCOCO 2006 site , translations into other languages are in progress.
It should be pointed out further that the Mauritanian Union of the Forces of Progress (UFP) was represented by its first vice-president Mr. Ba Boubakar Moussa [speech French]  while the Moroccan party ''Annahj Addimocrati'' (The Democratic Way) reiterated in a message addressed to the conference, its support for the right of the Saharawi people to self-determination and condemned the human rights abuses in Western Sahara. [in Arabic]

11.11.06, demonstration
Several thousand demonstrators marched in Madrid to call for the decolonization of Western Sahara, self-determination and independence for the Saharawi people and to denounce the Madrid Accords or Tripartite Agreement made in 1975. The Secretary General of the Spanish United Left, the PP and the PSOE took part in the march.  [agencies]
[fotos I] [fotos II]  [fotos III]

COMING UP...

13-24.11.06, Exposición de fotografías y paneles titulada:"Sáhara Occidental, soñando con el reencuentro" en el Centro Cívico, Avda. Los Guindos s/n, Malaga. Asociación Andaluza por la Solidaridad y la Paz (ASPA): aspa.malaga@nodo50.org

22.11.06 Le président du Conseil des ministres italien, Romano Prodi, effectuera une visite au Maroc, accompagné de son ministre du Commerce international, Emma Bonino. [voir lettre de la Coordination des associations solidaires d'Emilie Romagne et du BIRDHSO]

30.11.-01.12.06, Abuja, Nigeria. First South America-Africa Summit to Advance South-South Cooperation.

29.12.06-03.01.07, Amanecer del 2007 "Sahara en el corazón - fin de año con los Saharauis - un encuentro solidario por la paz y la amistad en el desierto"
Información: ceas-sahara@ceas-sahara.es

INTERNET

Censorship continues:
“The censorship of Internet sites judged hostile to the interests of Morocco is becoming more common. After the sites supporting the Polisario, it is certain free servers which are being blocked partially or totally. The last to date : the name of the domain “blogspot.com”, which harbours several Moroccan blogs ... and a Saharawi blog particularly virulent against the kingdom. Censorship continues likewise to hit the geographical search program Google Earth. What is at risk for Morocco? Absolutely nothing, except it might lose (precious) points on its position among countries respecting freedom of expression.”
[TelQuel, Maroc, No 248]
[In 2005 , Morocco was in 119th place in the world ranking for freedom of the press established by Reporters Without Borders, in 2006 it is in 97th position. “The drawing back of red lines imposed by the Palace and the opening of the audiovisual landscape have allowed Morocco (97th) to gain 23 places in relation to last year...”
[--> full list of the Press Freedom Index of RSF]

NEW PUBLICATIONS
[External links to newspapers may not be valid after some days because the servers are restarted]

Français
>> Revue de la presse internationale francophone http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/revue-de-presse-sahara-occidental/messages

English
>> English publications on Sahara Update mailinglist: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sahara-update/messages

Castellano
>> Revista de la prensa en español http://es.groups.yahoo.com/group/revista-de-prensa-sahara-occidental/messages

Italiano
Attualità in italiano: El Ouali Bologna  + Radio for Peace

Deutsch


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